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  • Guatemala: Giammattei Takes Office in a Poor, Insecure Country
Published 14 January 2020

The right-wing physician assumes as president with the promise of reducing insecurity and containing poverty.

Guatemala's new president Alejandro Giammattei Tuesday takes office under pressure from the United States President Donald Trump on immigration and security issues.

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US Plans to Send Mexican Asylum Seekers to Guatemala

This former director of the Penitentiary System, who will rule Guatemala from 2020 to 2024, must decide his stance quickly on the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA)​​​​​​, for it turns Guatemala into a buffer zone to reduce asylum applications.

During the 2019 presidential campaign, Giammattei stood out as a far-right politician who vowed to return the death penalty as a solution to everyday insecurity.

"We will bring back the peace that this country needs," he reaffirmed on Monday, promising to restructure the ministries related to security management.

Giammattei will rule in a country overwhelmed by poverty. Currently, 61 percent of Guatemalans experience poverty and 20 percent of them live in extreme poverty.

Guatemala also stands out for having the lowest investment in education and poor performance in social policies. This is why 70 percent of children has ​​​​malnutrition.

To all of the above is added the existence of political elites that are corrupt and abuse power in total impunity. A sample of this includes even the incoming president.

When this physician directed the Guatemalan penitentiary system, human rights defenders denounced cases of extrajudicial executions of prisoners.

Giammattei came to power after 20 years of participating in four different presidential campaigns. His victory, however, was not overwhelming.

He triumphed in an electoral process in which 57 percent of the Guatemalans qualified to vote preferred not to go to the polls.

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